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For whom the bell tolls

One of my favorite tags has been to pay for the person behined me on a bridge toll, and to ask the toll booth operator to give them a smile card.

I've always wondered what kind of ripples that would generate ..

Today a friend told me a talk he heard at a local Zen center. The speaker, an accomplished woman with many ongoing projects was describing how sometimes when she gets overwhelmed with responsibilities, she will roll up the windows to her car and scream. One day she was doing this right before reaching a tollbooth and found out someone had paid for her. As she described it, this completely turned her mentality around and literally made her day. It also made the day of my friend who heard the story today and decided to share.

That bridge is one I frequent.

3076 Reads
  • Posted by vinay
  • Jun 3, 2006
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Seeds of Kindness Go A Long Ways

"A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted."

May all the seeds you plant land in fertile soil, and for the seeds that don't, give them another try.

2744 Reads

The Care Package

My dearest cousin has been really down in the dumps the last few weeks ... it hurts me to see her so unhappy with life.

So I went out and created a care package for her! In it, I put a brand new gardening tools, seeds, and a pot so she could get into gardening and get her mind off things (it's also just a great therapeutic activity!) and I also got her a 1000-pc puzzle to have her fun with. I just want her to get her mind off things and have fun with life, even if just for a moment.

You see the smile card there? YAY for happiness!

2029 Reads
  • Posted by Alicia
  • Jun 14, 2006
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Bearing Smiles

Recently I went to a restaurant with my grandparents. I decided that it was time to use a card. We ate our dinner and got ready to leave, but before I left, I layed a smile card on the table along with a tiny bear figurine that I had made. Then, I hurried towards the door.

Before I got there, the waitress saw what was at the table and called out to me that I had forgot something. I told her no, it was hers! She smiled, and that was the last time I saw her. It was really exciting, and a new way to spead smiles! Plus, one of my bears now has a home, and is "bearing smiles!"

2033 Reads


Last weekend my dorm mate was kind of bummed. We don't really know each other too well, but we get along. I had just recieved some coupons for Build-a-Bear Workshop and was excited about going to make a bear. But I decided that maybe she needed it more. I took her to Build-a-Bear and let her make a teddy bear and I let her use my coupons. She was laughing so hard that by the time we left, she had a smile stuck on her face! It was a lot of fun!

2073 Reads

Nervous Girlscout

I was out of town at a relatives house for a party- when I heard the doorbell ring. I volunteered to help answer the door, since everyone was so busy. A nervous little girlscout came with her older brother.  I decided this felt like a moment to do something nice. 

I encouraged the shy little one to talk about her products, and cheered her on when she recommended items. At first I thought, it's probably not a big deal to be encouraging- and went ahead to order the "Smores" and other items that would be left as a surprise anonymously for the relative that I was staying with.

I shared my experiences as a young, nervous girlscout too. And then applauded the kids for doing their work- going door to door. I thought they were bound to get a lot of orders, and congratulated them on working so hard. 

Then to my surprise, the older brother piped in- we've been trying to sell for hours and barely anyone was buying!  I had no idea such a little act of encouragement would matter.  I may never see these little kids again since this wasn't my neighborhood- but I really felt good for what happened in our exchange. 

2102 Reads

Planting Date Palms

[A Sufi Story]

Harun al-Rashid was once walking through a plantation when he saw a hunched man with a long, gray beard, putting in sapling date palms. He greeted him, saying, ‘Take it easy, father!’

‘Thank you, my son,’ the old man replied.

‘What are you doing, father?’ he asked the old man.

‘As you see, I am planting sapling date palms.’

‘How many years does it take a date palm to bear fruit?’

‘Ten, twenty, thirty years. Some take as long as a hundred years.’

‘Will you be able to eat the fruit of these palms you are planting?’

‘I may not live to see the day,’ said the old man, ‘but we eat from those our forebears planted. So let us plant, that those who follow us may eat in turn!'

4293 Reads
  • Posted by James Fadiman
  • Jan 16, 2008
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Stones and Flowers

One afternoon, he discovered that if he tossed stones over his neighbor’s fence, he could create a crashing sound, the sound of breaking glass. So he would heave a stone and wait for the crash. Heave, crash. It was great fun and felt a little dangerous. He might get caught, after all, but that, to a small boy, was part of the excitement. As it happened, he did get caught. The man who lived next door came to his house and told his parents about the boy and the stones. ‘I would like Juan to come to my home so I can show him a few things,’ the man said, in a tone Juan found rather ominous. His parents, ashamed of and disappointed by their son’s behavior, readily sent their son to the neighbor’s house. Juan sheepishly followed the man into his house, through the back door, and out into the yard. ... Read Full Story >>

4451 Reads
  • Posted by Author Unknown
  • Jan 29, 2007
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Seven Questions on Giving Time

How can giving time be more powerful than spending money?  Below are seven questions of an interview with Nipun Mehta in Healing Life Styles and Spa Magazine: 1.      How is spending time on gifts more beneficial than spending money? In the moment when we spend money for others, there is the deep joy of expressing gratitude, of imagining the recipient's delight and of silently recognizing our interconnection.  It's beautiful.  Yet, it only lasts for that moment.  Instead, when you give time and allow yourself space to experience the process, you witness a long series of those joyous moments.  If spending money is generosity, spending time is like generosity on steroids. :) 2.      Can you please provide some examples of how to spend time? How are these just as rewarding (if not more rewarding) as purchasing a gift? The minute my mom gets invited to a baby-shower, she'll start knitting ... Read Full Story >>

6962 Reads

Noticing An Agitated Duck

Kim Tucker was heading home to West Sacramento last week and saw a sight that can't rightly be ignored. There, by the side of the road, was a remarkably agitated duck, pacing the pavement and flapping in fear. Her ducklings, Tucker learned on subsequent inspection, had fallen through a drainage grate and were desperately treading water in the filthy bog below. She looked for help, eventually enlisting a burly construction worker (to pry off the grate), a slew of onlookers and, she was surprised to note, a teenage boy, who whipped off his shoes and, without hesitation, slipped into the drain and started retrieving the ducklings in distress, one by one. "He was right on it," an impressed Tucker said. "It was (a very) human moment." But not all 13-year-olds are so human, judging by the number of like-aged boys who passed by the scene with little more than a glance. What made this particular kid ... Read Full Story >>

5061 Reads
  • Posted by Elizabeth
  • Jul 10, 2008
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Pay It Forward Coffee (Video!)

Just saw this on CNN today:

Perhaps all our collective good karma is impacting the world after all! Keep spreading the goodness, friends.

6151 Reads
  • Posted by Sridevi
  • Nov 18, 2008
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The Shop That Stayed Open on Christmas

Shopkeeper Tom Algie faced a dilemma over Christmas  --  how to give himself and his three staff time off but without letting down his customers. So he came up with a solution to suit everyone: leaving the hardware store open with an honesty box. He left a note telling shoppers who came in on Boxing Day to serve themselves and then leave their payment in the box he had rigged up. Perhaps astonishingly, his plan worked. Trusting shopkeeper Tom Algie wanted a day off and left his DIY store open with a note and honesty box - and returned to find £187 inside When Mr Algie, 47, returned at 4.15pm to close up, he was delighted to find the shop in Settle, North Yorkshire, had taken £187.66  -  and two euros. The father of two said: 'I didn't think twice about leaving the shop open. Settle is a lovely quiet ... Read Full Story >>

5369 Reads

A Perfect Stranger Restored My Faith

Anymore, it seems like all we ever hear about are the horrible things people do to others. I can't even turn on the news at night (we get Kansas City, Mo. news) without hearing of at least 3 people who were shot and killed plus numerous other acts of violence. Also, with families everywhere pinching pennies everywhere they can, not everyone is feeling as generous as they normally would be. But I found out that even in tough times, people can do simple things that might greatly improve a stranger's day. Not long ago, I was having one of those end of the week, everything fall apart, rotten days. I had a hard day at work, my week didn't go well and problems just kept popping up everywhere. Things broke or quit, unexpected bills came in and I was struggling to keep from loosing my cool from all the stress. Then ... Read Full Story >>

5723 Reads
  • Posted by Katie H.
  • Oct 6, 2009
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Inspired By "Food For Thought Jar"

I've been racking my brain trying to think of meaningful homemade gifts to give for Christmas this year.  My family has agreed that instead of buying gifts for each other and for extended family and friends, we will be donating our gift budget to a children's charity.  However, I would like to make "thank you" gifts for the adults in my life to acknowledge the holidays and thank them for their support this year (since they won't be receiving gifts from us).  Then I remembered this story from about the food for thought jar. 

What a perfect gift idea!!!  Jars come cheap or can be found around the house and recycled.  I am going to take the food for thought jar a step further here and give them as gifts with the hope that my mother and sister and friends will read the special tidbits inside and feel good every day :)  (and of course, each one will have a smile card in it.)

Thank you to Bedbug for her creativity and inventiveness and wonderful idea that I am going to recycle and reuse for my own purposes.



2188 Reads

21 Day Gratitude Challenge Top 10

If this were your last day, how would you spend it? "If today was my last day on earth I imagine the world would suddenly come into view as never before. All the things around me, the sights, sounds, feelings, those natural and even unnatural, would have more meaning, preciousness, & vividness than ever before. I would try to live each moment of that day with mindfulness and presence, appreciating the small things that I usually take for granted and feeling grateful to experience them all for one last day. Ideally I would spend the day with loved ones, simply enjoying each others' company. If for some reason it wasn't possible for me to be with loved ones I would make sure I contacted them to let them know how much they have meant to me and how they have blessed my life. There's no reason why this imaginary last ... Read Full Story >>

6205 Reads
  • Posted by arathi
  • Jan 1, 2014
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Innter Transformation And Some Balloon Moments!

My friend/new found kindness buddy and I were walking down a familiar street near our university and we stopped by an ATM to withdraw some money. We were in the queue when we noticed a young girl helping a blind girl on her way home, by holding her and not letting her come in contact with any danger. My friend H and I felt we needed to thank her for the immense act of kindness that she was doing. So, we decided to make a balloon animal for her to express our gratitude. We created a balloon giraffe and handed it over to her when she stopped by a pharmacy next to the ATM and told her that we were touched by what she was doing to help someone else who is disabled. A connection emerged so strong out of this interaction that we had that she wanted to join us ... Read Full Story >>

4062 Reads
  • Posted by 11888
  • Mar 4, 2014
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Beautiful Girl - Beautiful Father

“Josie Metz's father won't be there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. But thanks to California photographer Lindsey Villatoro, the 11-year-old was able to experience what it might be like anyway. Her father, Jim, 62, had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he and his wife, Grace, hired Villatoro -- a mother, photographer and founder of Love Song Photography based in Menifee, Calif. Two years ago, Villatoro began offering photography sessions for terminal clients or clients with serious illnesses to document their journeys and was referred to the Metz family. "I try to really showcase the person for who they are and not the illness," she told The Huffington Post during a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. Villatoro went to Jim and Grace's home for a shoot and offered to do one with their young daughter, Josie. After she left, she posted about the family on her website ... Read Full Story >>

4308 Reads
  • Posted by
  • Apr 2, 2014
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Gasoline, A Burger Meal, and a Kiss!

Yesterday afternoon in St. Louis Mo it was rainy and light snow. While pumping gas, a young man approached me and asked if he could pump my gas for a dollar so he could get something to eat.

At that moment the pump stopped, my tank was full. I asked him to meet me at the Burger King across the street. At this time he informed me that the manager had asked him to stay away, as he was begging.

I went in, talked to the manager, explained that I was going to buy him a meal, and would they let him stay long enough to eat his meal. The manager agreed. I purchased his meal, and thanked the manager by telling her she'd done a good thing and also gave her a smile card and a Hershey Kiss!

2626 Reads
  • Posted by bosslady4925
  • Apr 15, 2014
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A Bag of Donuts

Yesterday, I went out and saw a street vendor selling potato donuts. I had bought 8 donuts for the boys at home. Before I left the place, I saw this little boy sleeping on the sidewalk, with his mom sitting next to him. She appeared to be sleeping as well, with her head resting on her knees. Their clothes were tattered and dirty.

As I walked to my car just a few meters away, I couldn't ignore the tightness in my chest, as the thought of what that boy was going through came into my mind. So I went back and gave the woman the bag of donuts. She thanked me and placed the bag next to her and went back to sleep.

I left the place and hoped that maybe when that little boy wakes up, he will smile when he sees a bag of sugar covered donuts, all for him.

2450 Reads

A Smile Goes A Long Way!

It costs nothing to share a smile and help someone in need. Today I woke up grumpy and on the wrong side of the bed (obviously).

I knew that doing something special for someone would snap me out of this mood. I work with a bunch of college students and today, I met a really nice student. She was returning after the death of her father. He lived to see his daughter attend college! I decided to go one step further and show her where she needed to go for her ID and parking pass.

Instead of telling her, I walked with her. I am rehabilitating from a full knee replacement.  I really feel that walking with her not only helped her learn her way around college, but helped me in my rehabilitation process. We both smiled, glad that we had made a new friend. Something so simple as a smile goes a long way.

2980 Reads